We were 24 years old when we met. Up until then, we had lived in different parts of the continent. He had never been to my region in his life, and I had never been to his. How did we ever meet? Thus starts our story.
I was born in Findlay, Ohio. He was born in Edmonton, Alberta Canada. My daddy was a church planting pastor, so we moved a number of times during my growing up years. His mother, well, we just learned some of her story two years ago! Paul never met his biological mother nor his father. He never even knew her name and still doesn’t know who his father was. He was 55 years old before he learned her name, but she died just weeks after contact was made. They never did get to hear each other’s voices.
I grew up in the home of Marion and Yvonne Thomas and had a big sissie named Lanie. William Ian Armstrong was adopted by LeRoy and Florence Olsen and became Paul Lawrence Olsen. They brought him and a brand new baby girl (not related to him) back to their little home by the ocean in Crescent City, California. We only have two pictures of Paul before he was adopted at age 2 years and three months, but when I look at the dark haired, tiny little boy with those big eyes and a sad expression, I just want to love him. That I have been doing for 31 ½ years now.
Our story has many chapters, as does yours. Don’t you love to hear stories? God designed us to love stories, to resonate with them. We enter the world of a story and live with the characters. We see life both through their eyes and as observing outsiders. The author of Scripture communicates His most important messages to us through stories from Genesis through Revelation, and within those books He embeds the principles and precepts He wants us to live by, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
I have so much I’d like to share with you, but the character quality I’m supposed to be illustrating now is the quality of self-control. However, it’s time I finish today’s post (which will take a bit of self-control). Through my posts, I’d like to show the meaning of character qualities through stories. Did you read my last two posts? Are you telling your children your stories? Can you show your children how your story (as well as theirs) fits inside God’s story?
How has God changed you through the cross of Christ, the Word of God, and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit? This is your story.
Well, look through the chapters of your life and find stories that demonstrate what self-control, perseverance (our last quality), and other character qualities look like. Self control is “choosing to do right even when it is very hard by depending upon God’s help” (Gal. 5:22; I Thes. 5:8). Self- control in a Christian can also be called “Spirit-control.” Remember some times in your life when God empowered you to do right when it seemed about impossible. Hmm. Tell the story to your children or to a friend or colleague.
I’d like to tell another part of Paul’s story and mine but it’s time for me to stop! “Tune in for the next episode on Thursday!”